July 31, 2017 | Lexington, Ohio | Alec Udell earned his first career professional race podium over the weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The 21 year-old proved why he is one of motorsports’ most talked about young drivers by not only finishing third-overall in the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Sprint Championship race on Sunday, July 30, but by also earning the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger and Best Start Awards in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by GMG.
The Clemson University rising senior was gridded tenth in the starting field for Sunday’s Round 7 of the PWC Sprint Championship – he raced to an eighth-place finish in Saturday’s 50-minute feature (Round 6). However, the Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate wasted no time rushing to the front in the second of two races. His initial start was spectacular gaining several positions in the early portions of the lap on the 2.258-mile track. When the dust had settled ten-minutes into the timed event, the Clemson orange-highlighted GMG blue Porsche was in third-position overall and pressing Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) for second-place. The initial start warranted PWC officials to declare the 2016 PWC GT Cup Champion the “Best Start” of the race. The fight and capture of the additional positions resulted in the “Hard Charger” Award.
Mid-Ohio has been a favorite for Udell. In 2011, as the PWC’s youngest driver to compete, up to that time, the Mechanical Engineering major and Economics minor, won the class pole position at age 15. He took pole position, fastest race lap and victory in both the GT Cup rounds at “Mid-O” in 2016. Despite all the accolades bestowed upon him, Sunday’s performance still turned heads in the GT road racing paddock. The success came not as a result of pit strategy – there are no stops in the 50-minute races – or because of attrition of mistakes by others – only one car that qualified in front of Udell suffered an issue. The success came with racecraft by the former karting champion. He pressured and was in return pressured by some of the world’s best sports car racers and stood his ground. Since being moved into the all-pro GT category – having won the first two rounds of the GT Amateur (GTA) season at St. Petersburg, Florida – Udell has shown he belongs among the elite professionals. Each successive race weekend he has moved closer to the fulltime factory drivers including childhood hero Patrick Long.
Udell will now move back into the PWC SprintX Championship with co-driver Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland). The pairing will share the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 R in the final four rounds, two event weekends, of the two-driver, 60-minute format races. He will next race at Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah on August 11 – 13. He will close the GT season at Sonoma Raceway in the Euroworld Motorsports machine, September 15 – 17.
Alec Udell |
about Mid-Ohio| “I've raced a lot here in the past so it's good to have an understanding of the start. The middle lane opened up and I was able to get a good run down and a good draft into turn four. I was fortunate enough that the door was open and as a racing driver you have to go for every gap you see and try to not make too much of a mess there.
I had a lot of pressure from the Ferrari of Kyle Marcelli behind me nearly the whole race. He seemed to have a very strong car so I knew I could make no mistakes. He drove a perfect race, but with clean air ahead of me I had the advantage and stood my ground to the finish.
As a competitor you always want more but being realistic about it, I don’t think there is anything I would do differently about the weekend. The GMG guys did an amazing job with our Euroworld Motorsports Porsche. That just left me to go out there and do all I could to make the most out of it. Sharing the podium with the guys who raced until the last half lap last year for the GT title, I think we can say we did that.”
about racing with factory drivers and veterans | “Ever since I was a little kid I've always wanted to make it in racing and looked up to Patrick (Long) as a kid. And he's been a true role model that I wanted to be when I grew up so when I go racing with these guys toe-to-toe, it's something that I can look back on and say to myself that I think I've done pretty well in racing.
about Alec Udell |
Alec Udell is a junior studying engineering at Clemson University. The 21 year-old from The Woodlands, Texas began his racing career in karting at age five. He went on to win the Rotax National Points Championship in 2008 and represented his country as part of Team USA in Egypt in the World Championships in 2009. By 2011, he made history by becoming, at the time, the Pirelli World Challenge’s youngest ever competitor at age 15. He has 15 career Pirelli World Challenge GT Cup class wins entering the season and is the 2016 PWC GT Cup Champion.
about Euroworld Motorsports |
2017 is the third season Udell partners with Euroworld Motorsports (www.euroworldmotorsports.com). Euroworld is the country’s only certified automotive carbon fiber repair facility. Based in Houston, they are one of Texas’s leading European auto repair and performance facility.
More information on the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge can be found at www.world-challenge.com .